Politics

Great-Grandson Of Elijah Muhammad, Dr. Khalil Muhammad Takes Issue With Sharpton Interview About Rising Crime


New York City-based community leader the Rev. Al Sharpton has called on the city’s new mayor and former police captain, Eric Adams, to take care of rising crime in the city. Historian, author and Harvard University Professor Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, the great-grandson of the late Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, has taken issue with Sharpton’s call for more policing.

Policing in the U.S. was built on racism, according to Dr. Muhammad.

Rev. Sharpton, who has often been at odds with the New York City Police Department, called on Mayor Adams to stop a rash of brazen NYC thefts during a Feb. 9 interview on MSNBC. There have been several news stories about shoplifters who have loaded up garbage bags full of merchandise and walked out of the store. Recently, a male shoplifter was photographed walking out of a NYC Trader Joe’s food store with an armful of steaks.

To combat shoplifting, some stores have put certain items under lock and key.

“They are locking up my toothpaste,” complained Sharpton. “You can not have a culture where people at random are robbing and stealing.”

Sharpton is missing the bigger picture — the criminalization of poverty — according to Dr. Muhammad, who suggested in a tweet that other types of crime need more attention, such as white-collar crime.

“This is a stunning illus. of the criminalization of poverty, leading to billions on police, jails and prisons, and not one pundit or civil rights leader can address economic insecurity by design. How about PUBLIC SAFETY against predations of Wall Street & corporate employers?” Muhammad (@KhalilGMuhammad) tweeted.

NYC Mayor Adams ran on a campaign of being tough on crime. A former NYPD police captain, Adams has promised to bring back one of the department’s most controversial policies — stop-and-frisk — as a way to curb gun violence. Under stop-and-frisk, police can randomly search people on the streets. Stop-and-frisk is blamed for the police custody death of Eric Garner in 2014.

Others on Twitter agreed with Muhammad.

“Al Sharpton is supposedly a reverend, and it never occurred to him that he could talk about people needing to be fed? Shame on you Al Sharpton,” tweeted It’s the #PelosiSquad (@aglantzMpodol).

“Did they ever have any of those thieving ass bankers on there explaining how they robbed ppl?” asked Bae Guevara (@Kaimandante).

“It’s always concerning when people steal food but not concerning enough when they don’t have enough food to eat or price gouging by the food companies or wage theft by big corporations,” tweeted End the establishment (@andyg_live).

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Dr. Muhammad has spoken about heavy-handed policing in the past.

After a Minnesota jury convicted of former police officer Derek Chauvin on three counts for murdering George Floyd, Dr. Muhammad told Democracy Now!, “We know that while the prosecution was performing in such a way to make the case that Derek Chauvin was a rogue actor, the truth is that policing should have been on trial in that case.”

He added, “We don’t have a mechanism in our current system of laws in the way that we treat individual offenses to have that accountability and justice delivered.” 

Muhammad details in his book, “The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America,” the racist history of slave patrols that led to U.S. police departments.

Photo: Khalil Gibran Muhammad attends the 54th New York Film Festival opening night gala presentation and world premiere of “13th” at Alice Tully Hall on Sept. 30, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)   



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